During the break, Stanford coach Tara Van Derveer held the Cardinal together. The team has been in hotels for three months, searching for VanDerveer's third national title, their first in 29 years.
Despite the difficulties, the winning coach in women's college basketball pulled out a star without a team in the final four.
On Friday morning, the Atlanta Tipoff Club named VanDerveerthe Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year for his efforts.
VanDerveer, in his 35th season at Stanford, also won the award in 2011 and 1990.
Later Friday, she was also named Coach of the Year by the US Basketball Writers Association. It was the first time she had received this award since 1990 when Stanford won its first national championship.
The best overall favorite, Stanford (29-2), will face South Carolina, Southeastern Conference champions, this afternoon, in the semi-finals of the Final Four in San Antonio. Connecticut faces Arizona in Game 2. The winners will qualify for the last Sunday afternoon at the Alamodome.
Stanford reached its eighth Final Four in 14 years. The Cardinal was fortunate enough to show up last season, but NCAA officials canceled the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global health crisis has also disrupted this season.
Stanford spent 63 days on the road, which began in November due to strict Santa Clara County guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Look at what Tara has accomplished this season," said Stanford assistant head coach Kate Paye. "The level of sustainable excellence. You'd be hard-pressed to find a comparison for a decade after a decade."
After playing for Indiana University before the women's game became part of the NCAA format, VanDerveer began coaching in Idaho and then Ohio. She arrived at Stanford in 1985 and won her first national title in five years.
VanDerveer's career record is 1,123-255, while Stanford has played consecutive NCAA 33 tournaments.
It's something people take almost for granted," said Paye, a walking guard with the Cardinal's 1992 team. Tara has a way to execute it more comfortable to win at a greater level, and she doesn't. Year after year, she has Stanford basketball in the race to win a national championship. That's why she is in the Hall of Fame as one of the best female coaches in the sport's history.
VanDerveer doesn't like when the spotlight is on her and has downplayed her accomplishments.
True to form, she recognized everyone except herself for the last honor. VanDerveer, 67, said the award reflected the way his players have worked and played.
She said Thursday. I use the analogy of a symphony. There will be different solos every night. The best thing is that when someone is playing a solo, the other orchestra members continue to play. They do not put down their instruments and do not look.
The coaching staff relished the players' answer to the ban on COVID-19, Paye said
As Tara told them, your middle name is 'Flexible' - whose capital is F, "she says. It used to be difficult, and now they just work with the punches.
Do you want us to play here?" Do you want us to play there? What time? Which jersey do you want us to wear? No problem."
VanDerveer was also named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the 16th time this season after leading the Cardinal to his 24th conference championship and first since 2014.
Vanderveer said, For a team with great flexibility, commitment, unity, I'm their biggest fan. Being in the locker room, I know I have only two more games to train them, and I want to compete with them and want them to be two great games.